Andrew Miller

August 9, 2022

Working things out: Failing to write.

Hi, I'm Andrew, known as AndHeDrew.
I've attempted to start a blogging habit many times. Like most things, it didn't stick the first 2000 times. So here I am, pretty sure the 2001st time will work.
Why? Why do I do it? Why does it fail? What should I blog about? I hope to answer these questions, at least partially.

Why I fail

Why I fail at blogging, #1: Most things fail
I've done a lot of things, 90% of them fail completely, or fail to live up to what I wanted them to be.

"You'll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom. Not least of which is, uh... how much more enjoyable it is to win. It's inevitable to lose now and again. The trick is not to make a habit of it."  - Henry Skinner, A Good Year (2006)
I lose, I learn, I try again - try not to see myself as a loser just because I lost.

Why I fail at blogging #2:  I get grandiose
I start thinking that my blog is going to make me king of the world, a wise teacher, a thought leader. I retreat into childish grandiosity and fantasy. This puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on my words, to the point that it becomes impossible to write anything.

Why I fail at blogging #3: I get overly optimistic
I plan on writing giant illustrated blog posts daily, I optimistically assume that I'll find 3 more hours every day to put together a blog post. This leads to inevitable failure.

Why I fail at blogging #4:  I get feedback
I write something. People actually read it, and dislike it. I spiral down into fear and self-loathing.

Why I fail at blogging #5:  I get hooked on attention
I write to pander, to please, to get people to pay attention to me. I'm the second-born child again, trying desperately to stand out when my siblings are better at pretty much everything.

Why I fail at blogging #6: I don't see myself as a writer
I write, but I've never identified with writing. I've never thought of myself as a Proper Writer. I do lots of stuff, and it's easy to shrug off my lack of writing - it's ok if I'm not writing, I'm not a writer, I don't really know what I'm doing. This ignores all of the benefits of writing.

Why I blog

Why I blog, #1: To structure my thoughts
It takes what I'm thinking about out of my head, and gives structure and form to it. It helps me nail down what I think, what I believe, and think it through thoroughly. Writing isn't the only way to think well, but it's a good way.

Why I blog, #2: To help people
I write, and sometimes my experiences actually help people. Sometimes I don't know I've helped someone until years later when they tell me so. Writing is kind of an act of faith in that way: I have to trust that my effort, sent out into the world, will hit its target, even if I don't hear anything back. This is hard, it can feel like it's pointless effort helping no one.

Why I blog, #3: To share what I've done
I work on a lot of stuff, and I want to share it with those few who are interested.

Why I blog, #4: It makes me a better person
When I reflect on what I do, I do it better.

Why I blog, #5: It makes me happier
I create all sorts of things, but there's something about expressing myself in words that's very cathartic, or something. My days go better.

What to expect

What will I write about? If you follow along, what should you expect?

The creative life
I love helping people create consistently. There's nothing more awful and destructive than a person with creative ambitions who isn't creating. Self-hatred fairly quickly morphs into self-destructive habits or world-consuming hatred, anxiety, or depression. I believe there's no way around it: we must approach the creative work we've been called to do regularly, or gradually find ourselves becoming a destructive force in the world. I believe there's no alternative.

Working things out
These will be relatively unpolished posts, where I'm pushing up against my limits, trying to understand something. These posts usually are mandatory: I feel the itch to write, to really formulate my thoughts on a subject, and thrash it out, and the itch doesn't go away until I write. They're fairly often partially wrong, not completely thought out, too extreme, or half-baked. Please be extra forgiving when I'm working things out - it's no easy task to expose your thoughts to external criticism. However, the alternative is everyone keeping quiet and only saying the proper, polished, correct things, so I suppose getting blowback from time-to-time is better. It's possible/likely that I'll upset or offend while I'm trying to work things out - especially if I'm questioning one of your deeply held beliefs. But it's never my intention to be offensive or contrary for the sake of being offensive or contrary. I beg your forbearance.

My new thing
These will be posts about something I'm interested in right now, something that's caught my attention. They will be wide-ranging and idiosyncratic - today I might be consumed in model painting, tomorrow doodling. They might also be a new project I've launched, or a new website. Cool stuff, if you're interested.

Story time
I like telling stories and drawing cartoons. I'll do this from time-to-time, although perhaps fairly rarely, since illustrating a blog post takes about 3x longer than writing one.

Every week or two I'll send a wrap-up of what I've written out to blog subscribers. This way I won't be bombarding your inboxes with stuff, but you can still follow what I'm doing.


I'm planning on attempting a blog post daily. Maybe half of those won't be worth publishing, and sometimes I won't have writing time, so I expect I'll publish 2-3 times per week, on average. That will probably look like 9 times one week, one time the second week. If you subscribe, you'll get one email a week at most, probably more like one email a month.